One of the most interesting technological projects is Dell’s Concept Luna laptop prototype. It reimagines the laptop as a highly modular device that can be fully updated, modified, and physically reconfigured by a remote robotic kiosk. But it has viability well beyond laptops. Applied to other types of personal or business products, it could provide unparalleled sustainability for those product lines and savings for people who buy them. Combining sustainability with cost savings is one sure way to incentivize sustainable behavior.
Let’s talk about how Dell’s Concept Luna could change the world for the better.
One of the big issues with the automotive industry, as it transitions to electricity, is that electric cars don’t really wear out and their service requirements tend to be far less than internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. Dealerships make most of their money from their services, not from selling new cars. In addition, once a car is sold, outside of scheduled services, there is little incentive for the car buyer to go back to the dealership for extra functionality (like installing a dash camera).
But if you were to make a car like Concept Luna, you could effectively have one car for your entire life and simply swap out the components and upscale the body and interior of the car as your economic situation changed. This could be very important after the planned implementation of generative AI into automobiles (which Mercedes, NVIDIA, and Google just announced). This is because once you train the AI and it gets to know you, you’ll likely develop a pet-like relationship with the car that would make it far more difficult for you to give it up.
Everything from the exterior color of the car to how the car is powered to the interior could be updated and changed using a robotic approach similar to what Dell used in Concept Luna. The same concept could be applied to motorcycles and even trucks of all sizes. Parts of the car, like the body and motors, may not wear out for the life of the car, yet can take up a lot of space when disposed of.
So, the ability to upgrade and modify the car could provide a lasting revenue stream to the dealer and manufacturer, even though people are expected to reduce their replacement rate once generative AI becomes available in those cars, trucks, or motorcycles.
From off-roading to snowmobiles to jet skis, we have a love for personal hardware that sits idle more than it is used and often needs to have updates and replacements due to age or abuse. Like with personal transportation, these vehicles could be brought into a dealer, slid into a robotic kiosk, and then updated or modified automatically at the owner’s request. The vehicle would be more valuable for sale, less likely to be sold, and far less likely to end up in a landfill.
Say the power train is in good shape, but the hull of the vehicle has been damaged in a crash. You’d only have to pay for the new hull, and in a few minutes, your power train would be installed in that new hull so you can continue your fun for a fraction of the cost of a new vehicle. Again, you get less stuff going into a landfill, and the buyer gets a solution that may look new but is only charged for the new hull.
People break screens on their smartphones and tablets, and just like laptops, the Luna approach could make users more likely to upgrade their devices and less likely to toss them out in favor of a new device. The same robots that the laptop-based Concept Luna used could be employed here and expand the use of the related kiosk, increasing its utility and ability to raise revenue over the laptop-only solution. In fact, given how often people break smartphone screens, it is kind of surprising Samsung or Apple haven’t embraced this robotic concept for repairs given how they can adversely affect the perception of the brand to new buyers.
This repair option could expand to electronic children’s toys, drones, remote control vehicles and TVs which are usually replaced when they could simply be upgraded or repaired instead, saving the owner or the parent a ton of money annually. Rather than discarding and buying new, the buyer would instead only pay for the replacement part with a minor upcharge to help pay for the robot that did the work. Kids get attached to their toys, so giving them their favorite toy back repaired should have a more positive result than the more expensive path of replacing it.
Concept Luna, which is focused on laptop redesign for sustainability and lower strategic customer ownership costs, could be applied to a number of other markets. I touched on a few above, but that list could also include things like security cameras, headphones, shoes, personal robotics (like robotic vacuum cleaners), and even baby buggies. The real potential is to transform any physical, product-based industry into a more sustainable one while saving buyers plenty of money for both upgrades and repairs.
Concept Luna is one of the few proposals that promise to reduce waste and save a lot of money. Were it applied more broadly, it could increase the satisfaction between users and the products they buy by creating a better customer experience while significantly reducing costs and waste. In short, Concept Luna has the potential to change the world and make it, from a product perspective, both greener and better. It represents a better future.
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